My Experience With The NPR Coffee Club

 

NPR has a coffee club!

Maybe you knew that already, but I was shocked to discover it, since I listen to several of their podcasts and thought I was pretty familiar with them.

I’ve been trying and subsequently reviewing every coffee subscription service I come across, so I was glad to have an excuse to try them out.

Today, I’ll tell you all about my experience trying the NPR Coffee Club.

Signing Up

Signing up was super easy. Their website was simple, but easy to navigate.

The coffee that they’re selling is easy to find, and they make it very clear that the benefits of subscribing versus just buying individual coffee is free shipping and 5% off of all subscriptions.

There wasn’t a quiz or anything to determine your preferred coffee tastes; they simply just allow you to subscribe to your favorite coffee, in either whole bean or ground form.

You can choose to sign up for an ongoing subscription or gift a subscription. I went with an ongoing one, and then had to choose my delivery frequency, and my options were every 1, 2, 3, or 4 weeks.

Their Products

I love the names of their coffees! They’re all puns off of names of their podcasts and shows. ‘Brewline’ for ‘Throughline’, ‘It’s Bean a Minute’ for ‘It’s Been a Minute’, ‘All Beans Considered’ for ‘All Things Considered’ and – the one I went with – ‘Wait Wait… Don’t Wake Me’ instead of ‘Wait Wait… Don’t Tell Me’.

In non-pandemic times, they also host coffee tastings and educational training sessions, at several in-person locations in New York, Washington D.C., Los Angeles, and the Bay Area.

Packaging & Delivery

Delivery was timely, and there was no doubt about what it was when it arrived, as it came in a box with blue coloring and ‘Counter Coffee Culture’ written on the sides, so it was very noticeable in the mail.

With my first shipment of coffee, I also received what looked like a matchbox at first. I opened up to find an NPR coffee club pin, which I thought was a super nice touch! It’s a nice pin, and I will definitely be keeping it.

The Coffee

Like Klatch Coffee, NPR’s coffee doesn’t have any added flavors. The flavor notes they describe are naturally-occurring flavors that can be detected in the coffee.

Wait Wait… Don’t Wake Me

I was really excited to try my new coffee. I immediately opened the box and took out the coffee, only to read the label and immediately realize… I had gotten decaf coffee.

It was my own fault, really. I should have realized that a roast with ‘Don’t Wake Me’ in the name was a decaf roast, but I’d been reading the flavor notes when picking, and I’d been so entertained by the puns that I hadn’t really thought about it too much.

I still tried the coffee, of course. And it was good! If I hadn’t read the bag, I’d have had no idea that it was decaf. The bag states that the flavors are smooth, molasses, and cocoa, which is why I chose this bag to begin with – I’m one of those weirdos who loves molasses cookies.

The coffee was pretty fragrant, and the taste matched the scent pretty well. It was smooth, but it was also really bold. I did taste the molasses element, though I found the cocoa a bit harder to detect – I thought it had more of a chocolate aftertaste.  Overall, it was definitely the best decaf coffee I’ve had (though to be fair, I haven’t had that much decaf coffee). I wish this roast came in a regularly-caffeinated version as well!

Cup First

I figured that I couldn’t write a review based only on one decaf coffee that I tried from them, so I decided to order another. I went with ‘Cup First’, an organic roast that I made sure was fully caffeinated before buying. The bag states that it has tasting notes of nutty, sweet, and creamy.

The first thing I noticed was that it didn’t have a very strong smell, and that the scent it did have reminded me of the smell of diner coffee. I tasted it, and the flavor still reminded me of the coffee I used to drink in my favorite breakfast diner. It tasted similar, but better.

It did have a sweetness and nuttiness to it, but it was still slightly acidic in a way that wasn’t too overpowering, but rather pleasant instead. I couldn’t really detect any creaminess in flavor, but it was pretty smooth, so perhaps that is what they’re referencing there.

My Thoughts

At the end of the day, the NPR Coffee Club isn’t quite up to level of their coffee subscription service competition (see my reviews for Atlas Coffee Club, Klatch Coffee, and Bean Box). There’s no quiz to tailor your coffee deliveries by taste, and there’s not even an option for them to send you a different coffee with each shipment – you have to manually log in and change which coffee you want delivered before they ship it out. If you don’t, they ship the same bag over and over again.

That said, I think that there’s still a solid market for them, which consists mainly of those listeners that also enjoy drinking consistently good, familiar-tasting coffee, perhaps while discussing current events. Which makes sense, considering that NPR is a news organization, and not a coffee company.

I do think, though, that it would be a good idea to separately order the different coffees you want to try and subscribe to your favorite. I also wish they had a sampler pack you could order, so you could try the different coffees without committing to an entire 12oz bag of a coffee you might not even like.
So, while their website, lack of customization, lack of size options, and lack of marketing is holding them back from becoming a coffee conglomerate and from being my top recommendation for my coffee-drinking readers, I’m happy I tried it. It’s not at the very top of my list of great subscription services, but I’d still consider rejoining the subscription service at some point in the future.

The coffee, after all, is tasty, and has a nostalgic, familiar feel to it. And I would absolutely love to attend one of their coffee tasting events once they open back up, if I ever happen to be in one of the hosting areas when one’s going on.

Their website does also have a blog on it, and – in my relatively objective opinion as a fellow coffee blogger – it’s super informative and really good!

Conclusion

Did you know about NPR’s Coffee Club? Have you tried it? Would you try it?

Tell me about your experiences and let me know what your thoughts are in the comments below!

5 Replies to “My Experience With The NPR Coffee Club”

  1. Hi Jade!

    I had never heard of NPR (I’m probably the only person in their 20s not listening to podcasts religiously lol) or this coffee subscription!

    I do love a good subscription that has a quiz to match you to what fits your likes best so that’s a disappointment that they don’t have one. Could probably really up their marketing if they did!

    I have 100% accidentally picked up decaf before too! It’s disappointing at first but then it actually got me interested in more decaf coffees. I don’t drink afternoon coffee too much but sometimes I just crave the scent and flavor of it. When I do have an afternoon cuppa it’s nice to have decaf options lying around.

    I think I have heard of Bean Box on Instagram but the one I see the most of is Trade Coffee! Have you ever tried their coffee?

    Happy Friday!

    Haley

    1. Hi Haley!

      No worries; you’re definitely not alone! I also prefer it when there’s a quiz on these subscription services – at the very least a basic one to customize what you’re getting a little bit, or at least avoiding what you don’t like.

      And I’m glad I’m not alone in accidentally getting decaf! I felt pretty foolish and was pretty disappointed in myself, lol. I’m very familiar with craving coffee later in the day, but I usually switch to tea or just suck it up if it’s after 5ish, because hadn’t really found a good-tasting decaf coffee before. Now, however, I have this, and I’m pretty pleased with it

      I have tried Bean Box – I actually wrote a similar article about my experience with them, which is: here. And Trade Coffee is on my list to try, but I haven’t gotten there yet! So far I’ve reviewed Bean Box, Atlas Coffee Club, Klatch Coffee – and now NPR’s Coffee Club.

      I hope you had a good weekend, and that you have an even better week! Thanks for the comment!
      ~Jade

  2. Dear Jade,
    thanks for providing such delicious text! I love coffee in every way, and I can’t imagine a day without it. I was glad that there is the possibility of joining the Coffee Club and choosing the coffee you want to arrive at your home address! Most importantly, they have no added flavors and are totally natural, so in addition to being delicious, they are also of good quality. This is one of the most important reasons why I would sign up to a club. I just don’t know if they only ship to certain countries or is it word wide? If this is the case, I will definitely give it a try!
    Greetings, Danijela

    1. I am right there with you, Danijela! Very occasionally I’ll go a day without coffee (despite my best effort otherwise), and those days are always SO rough! I also like that they have no added flavors and are totally natural.

      And that’s an excellent question! I wasn’t able to find anything on their page about whether or not they ship outside of the US, but you could definitely try signing up and see if they’re able to send to you. If you do try, please let me know what you find out!

      Thanks, and thanks for the comment!
      ~Jade

  3. The coffee flavors do sound like they are a good buy. I love my coffee so the decaf one in the evening would be a great choice for me.
    I agree with you they need to improve their interface as it sounds like it could be better designed and most companies like giving samples so you can try different flavors.
    Maybe if they have a survey you could suggest that.

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